Cabinet Retreat Summary June 24-28, 2019

June 28, 2019

The Seattle University Cabinet held its annual retreat June 24-28, 2018. The following is a summary of the Retreat Agenda and Cabinet discussions.

2018-2019 Year in Review: The Cabinet reviewed the 2018-19 year, identifying highlights and challenges and sharing important takeaways which will better inform the 2019-20 academic year, including the need to clarify objectives for SU through the Strategic Plan.

President’s Goals and Board Priorities: In light of the president’s goals for 2019-2020 and the Board of Trustees priorities and proposed work plan, the Cabinet discussed how to best align its own priorities within the areas of student learning and engagement, the strategic plan, financial repositioning, the public phase of the capital campaign and the presidential transition.

Financial Pivot of the University: In preparation for the day long focus on the university’s financial position, the Cabinet read a number of articles related to serving the next generation of students (Gen Z). While the SU community will always include varied generations with differing interests and needs, Gen Z will, and has, affected SU. The Cabinet examined ways that the university must pivot in order to attract, serve and retain the next generation of students, embedding equity and inclusive practices into the university’s enrollment strategy asking the critical question, “Where does Jesuit education meet GenZ?

Strategic Planning: As the university has moved through the initial phases of the Strategic Planning process during the 2018-19 academic year, and in order to move forward successfully, the Cabinet provided feedback on the Strategic Positioning Document which is the result of extensive outreach and campus engagement, offering Strategic and Foundational Commitments. The Cabinet offered that the document needed to reflect a sense of urgency and that it help empower people to enact change. The hope is that this document will then become a foundation for the development of university’s Strategic Plan.

Rethinking the Organizational Structure: In consideration of the university’s priorities, the Cabinet discussed how it might work more effectively across boundaries and how the organizational structure might be realigned in order to be more effective.

Shared Governance: In light of the work done in the past year to strengthen the university’s commitment to Shared Governance, the Cabinet talked about how to continue strengthening the perspective of Shared Governance across the various constituencies of the university in the coming year.

Presidential Transition: The Cabinet was updated on the foundational work the Board of Trustees Presidential Transition Committee (PTC) has done in regards to the presidential transition. The transition timeline was reviewed. 

Succession Management: The Cabinet engaged in a lengthy conversation about succession planning and talent management. Succession Management is a focus on the total system – recruitment, selection, workforce planning, skills analysis, professional development, engagement and retention of key talent. The long term gains of this work include improved leader engagement and retention; sustained leadership in the face of retirement; planned emergency placements; and focused development of SU leaders who contribute to our current and future needs.

Enhance Student Learning & Engagement: Given the university’s commitment to student success, the Cabinet discussed how the university is promoting a positive, holistic student experience but also talked about areas which need improvement. Student success is ongoing work and needs to be undertaken by all university stakeholders.

Inclusive Excellence – Deepening Cabinet’s Commitment: Following a year of deep engagement, the Cabinet was asked to reflect on its Commitment to Live and Lead Inclusively. As university leaders, the Cabinet considered how it might better integrate inclusive excellence into decision-making and partner to advance diversity, equity and inclusion across the institution.

Highly Engaged Campus Culture: The Cabinet was asked to identify elements of the campus which are reflective of the university’s mission, vision and values as well as those elements which may be perceived as incongruent with the mission, vision and values. While there may be a number of subcultures within the Higher Ed environment, the Cabinet discussed ways to improve elements of the campus culture.